My research and writing for a future book has taken up much of my time. Blogs get neglected when there are other things to do.
I would be remiss, at least in my own mind, if I didn’t post a few snaps.
I popped over to Laos and Cambodia recently. I went to Laos to see the brand new botanic garden Pha Tad Ke, near Luang Prabang. I intend to write more about this, the first botanic garden in the Laos PDR.
It is a 25 minute boat ride on the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to PTK.
Laos is a Buddhist, Animist, Socialist Republic.
Just 30% of the plants of Laos have been studied. Given that the country has one of the most diverse and profuse floras in the world, and slash and burn agriculture is devastating the countryside, there is much to do.
About 485 species of orchids are native to Laos. There well may be many more. The garden has collected 250 species mostly Bulbophyllum and Dendrobium and they are on display in two shade houses.
Looking across the Palm Collection to the range of mountains and limestone karsts.
Skeletonized leaves embroidered with gold thread.
Rik Gadella, the garden’s creator, founder and general manager is an extraordinary man with an extraordinary vision. He and his staff are creating one of the most important and beautiful gardens in the world. Go there.
Link to the garden’s website – Pha Tad Ke
I then followed the Mekong to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to Angkor Wat, Prasat Pram, and the great wetland of Tonle Sap.
Thousands of tourists get up before dawn to see the sun rise over the temples. Once the sun is risen they seem to spend about half an hour wandering around and then head back to their hotels for breakfast.
I, being better than that, spent a couple of hours there. Self-righteous eco-voyeurism is such fun.
I preferred Prasat Pram,a complex of five temples built in the 10th century, three of which are extant. There were few people there.
One of the temples is built of brick.
The glory of these temples is the tree roots that wrap themselves around the buildings.
On, then, to the great wetland of Tonle Sap where we tourists are taken in longboats to peer at people in the floating villages.
Beyond the village is the wild wetland. Full of rare birds. Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, Greater Adjutant and Painted Stork. And plants – Barrintonia acutangula, Croton caudatus, Dalbergia pinnata ,to name three.
What an honor to be there. To see all of it. Even ever so briefly.